A Pearl River man operating as "an outlaw pharmacy" contributed to the 2011 overdose death of another man when he sold the victim a powerful opiate, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Authorities arrested Craig Oleksowicz, 37, on Thursday and charged him with selling prescription narcotics, including oxymorphone, methadone, codeine and Valium, the brand name of anti-anxiety drug diazepam.

Citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, which show there were 14,800 deaths related to prescription painkillers in 2008 -- the most recent year for which statistics are available -- Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said he believes prescription drug abuse is now more of a danger than abuse of street drugs like heroin and cocaine.

"The illegal dealers of prescription drugs will not get any easier treatment from this office simply because what they are selling can be legally used when properly prescribed," Bharara wrote in a statement. "We will not relent in combating this new drug scourge."

Oleksowicz sold oxymorphone, a partially synthetic opiate typically prescribed in time-release capsules, from February to October 2011, Bharara's office said. Oleksowicz sold pills to the victim in October 2011, and the victim overdosed that month, prosecutors alleged.

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Authorities said the victim was a 21-year-old Pearl River man, but would not identify or answer additional questions about the victim.

Despite the overdose, Oleksowicz continued to sell opiates, and sold codeine, methadone and Valium "on at least three separate occasions in February 2012," Bharara's office said.

A message was left Thursday evening with Oleksowicz's attorney, Mark Gombiner. If convicted, Oleksowicz could face 20 years to life in federal prison.